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Full US extradition hearing for WikiLeaks' Assange will take place in February 2020 – UK court

Full US extradition hearing for WikiLeaks' Assange will take place in February 2020 – UK court
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange will face a new, full US extradition hearing in February that is expected to last five days, Westminster Magistrates' Court in London has ruled.

The hearing date was set after British Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed on Thursday that he had signed and certified the US extradition order papers.

Assange's lawyer, Mark Summers, said the case represents an “outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.''

Responding to the new hearing date outside the court, another lawyer representing Assange, Jennifer Robinson, said that Assange is "in a healthcare ward in Belmarsh Prison due to his ill-health."

The US Justice Department has filed 18 charges against the 47-year-old Australian journalist, including one count of conspiring with Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst and whistleblower, to gain access to the US Pentagon network. 

Also on rt.com Extradition order to send Assange to US poses existential threat to all truth seekers – Galloway

Assange is currently serving a 50-week prison sentence in the UK for jumping bail in 2012. He was too ill to appear at the last hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court regarding the US request in May.

The journalist spent over six years living under asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, out of fear that Britain would hand him over to the US. He was forcibly dragged out of the building in April after the South American nation decided to evict him.

The WikiLeaks co-founder’s health has been of particular concern to his supporters. His lawyer, Per Samuelson, told reporters after visiting Belmarsh at the end of May that “Assange’s health situation... was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, who visited Assange in Belmarsh, claimed that he showed clear signs of suffering "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture."

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